… sing some smooth Will Smith with me now.
Ahhh, summer. I have to admit, now that I live in Florida, it’s no longer my favorite season. It’s too hot, too buggy, too long and poor E. still has to go to preschool (sorry, “summer camp”) all summer, which makes me feel guilty.
But there are things I do love about summer, and these past few days have been jam-packed with them.
The fun started off on the Fourth of July. In years past, we’ve headed over to Winter Park for its old-fashioned celebration (free hot dogs, lemonade, kids races and more). But this year, we were all just too dang tired. I was still dragging from the Martha’s Vineyard trip and our entire house was drowning in laundry.
We had a very low key few hours, then headed over to DadJovi’s cousin’s house for some fun on the water — tubing!
It was E’s first time so I wasn’t sure how she’d react. She kept saying she wanted to do it and I’m feeling much more confident about her swimming ability, but I wasn’t sure if she’d freak out once the boat started going. I felt good that she was riding with our cousin, who has raised two sons who aren’t just fans of watersports, one has even been a professional wakeboarder. And he was driving the boat. So E. was in good hands with her family in charge.
How do you think she liked it?
Yeah, I think she liked it. She was blissed out. Jen told us that E. kept screaming “faster, faster” from the tube. Thankfully, we didn’t obey her orders. I think we went at the perfect speed for her first time out.
What surprised me even more was how much she wanted to be in the lake — even far from the shore. As soon as the tube stopped, she’d hop right in.
After a few spins around the lake, we all jumped in (except for the driver, who went to help a broken down boat) and swam back to the shore. I had no idea E. was ready for her first open-water swim! Florida lakes still freak me the hell out. It’s not just the gators, it’s the snakes that really terrify me. But it’s a pretty busy lake and I’m not sure if there’s ever been a gator spotted there (at least not in awhile). And I was hoping all the splashing would scare the snakes off (it apparently did).
A little side note here: as I’m writing this, I’m just reading through the stories about Usher’s stepson, who is apparently now brain dead after being struck by a jet ski on a lake in Atlanta this weekend. What a terrifying, horrific experience that no parent should ever have to experience. The details are still sketchy but from what I’ve read, it appears the boy was also on an innertube. DadJovi was so paranoid about E. going tubing that he came along, even though he felt like lying on the couch instead. I feel really bad now for making fun of him. Man, I can’t imagine what Usher and his ex-wife Tameka are going through right now. And what a reminder that the best, happiest moments can go bad in seconds. I’m going to hug E. tighter in the morning.
Back to the story, though. After our fun in the lake, we headed home to quickly shower the lake goo off us and get ready for our annual neighborhood Fourth of July party. The day before, DadJovi and the other dads went out and bought enough fireworks to compete with downtown Orlando’s display. They even came back with a kid-sized pack.
Yes, not only does Florida sell fireworks that would be illegal in 90 percent of the country, they even target them toward children. Oh, Florida. You never cease to amaze. Needless to say, I was not a fan (DadJovi and I each have our paranoias).
E. is actually still pretty scared of fireworks though, so she doesn’t have much interest in them anyway. What she does love though is running around the neighborhood with all her little friends … even if her face doesn’t always show it.
See, I don’t just post good pictures of my kid. Everyone else looked too cute not to post. She was just nervous that another firework was about to go off. If you look closely at her and the little friend next to her, you’ll notice that they’re both wearing noise-reduction headphones. They stayed pretty far from the fireworks for most of the night.
We just keep laughing at the picture. It’s so Anytown USA. We live in a great neighborhood with great friends. A group of them live in a cul-de-sac, so it’s so fun to head over there for holidays and let the kids run around from house to house, all within the safe confines of the circle. I even have a cousin who lives there — we’re about fifth or sixth cousins and hadn’t seen each other since we were little kids in Pennsylvania. We both knew we were in Orlando but we didn’t realize how close until we met at a Halloween party about four years ago. It’s a small world after all. Her son is in the red above and E. and him love that they each have a local cousin since the rest of theirs are in Pa.
Needless to say, though, getting up Thursday morning for work and school was not fun for any of us. It was pretty brutal, to be honest. But we all zombie walked through the day, and thankfully, made it to Friday — E’s and my day off. Phew.
On Friday night, the summer fun continued. Our friends were renting a condo in New Smyrna Beach to celebrate her 40th birthday. After DadJovi got home from work, we headed east for dinner and some evening swimming.
God I love the beach.
The place is awesome and it belongs to another mutual friend, so we’re hoping to rent it sometime in the next year (before he retires to it permanently) too. It’s right on the beach and has a pool. Plus the condo has a balcony that overlooks it all, so we were able to see New Smyrna’s fireworks from it Friday night too.
But it was another late night. We didn’t get home until almost 11 and for some God unknown reason, E. refused to fall asleep in the car. That meant we had to put her to bed at 11.
You’d think she’d sleep in the next day. You’d be wrong. Well, I suppose she slept in for some kids, but she was up by 8:30, which is about her normal wake-up time.
After Saturday morning’s piano lessons, E. and I tagged along with DadJovi as he checked out a hotel in the Disney area where he might hold his firm’s fall retreat (somehow he is in charge of planning it). Well, we thought to really get the full experience, we had to take advantage of some of its amenities.
The kiddie pool was a little too warm for my taste (I don’t even want to think why) but the big pool was nice. It had a waterslide and waterfall, and E. was swimming like fish all over it. I’m so high on her swim lessons this weekend. She now officially swims in the deep end, floatie free. She does have one requirement though — goggles (anyone else type google for goggles every time?). If she doesn’t have goggles, she FREAKS OUT. She’s like Superman without his cape or something when she doesn’t have goggles. I can live with protective eyewear if it means she’s swimming like a champ.
After our thorough examination of the location (verdict? It’s still high on the maybe list), we headed home for a perfect summer dinner of steaks on the grill, corn on the cob and fresh fruit.
Then, there may or may not have been a late evening walk up the street for some ice cream. I’m blaming it on the intoxicating romance of a warm summer night.
Finally, E’s busy, busy few days caught up with her Sunday morning. She slept in to 10:20, a new record. I was so glad to have her sleep but DadJovi was so nervous and kept checking on her because he was afraid something was wrong. I knew she was just wiped out.
But we both were getting impatient because we had these waiting for breakfast.
DadJovi decided we should have a Breakfast at Wimbledon too, so he went out early to a French bakery in our neighborhood and stocked up on goodies. I swear, he must like me fat. Because how am I supposed to resist freshly baked croissants? The answer is I can’t.
Roger and Andy may not have waited for E. to finally wake up, but breakfast did. Finally, it was time to feast.
We were rooting for Murray, who I suspect could be a distant, distant relative of DadJovi’s (his grandmother’s maiden name was Murray too and they were also from Scotland. Then again, that’s probably like being Smith or Jones here. But still, he was our guy).
Before the match was over, I dragged my butt to the gym and promptly got it kicked by this arms workout I found on Pinterest and one of Julie’s (Peanut Butter Fingers) treadmill interval workouts.
Holy hell am I out of shape. But I finished both (although I had to drastically lower the speeds on the treadmill) and even got around to signing up for Daily Mile, thus allowing this girl to not be the last one aboard the fitness logging fun train. Yup, that’d be me now. So come friend me there, too! To make it easy for you, my name there is Jackie Jovi, in honor of this girl’s name for me.
After the gym, we had one thing on our minds — swimming. Oh, while I was there, DadJovi and E. had the great idea to go play mini-golf, in 100-degree heat. Traveling there in a car with broken A/C. Smart.
Know what’s even more fun than putting on your swimsuit for a bunch of people from the neighborhood you know? Seeing a local news crew there when you show up. My friend and I jumped into the pool before they could tape us on the pool deck in our suits. We’re confident like that.
Turns out some sex offender allegedly exposed himself to a kid there earlier in the week. Awesome. Yup, it sure is Anytown USA.
As the cameras rolled though, E. had another first — she dove off the board into the deep end all be herself, then swam to the side. And then did it about 10 more times.
I have a feeling this was the first weekend of many similar summer weekends. For the foreseeable future, the calendar is light. Ahhh, summer.
What’s one summery thing you did this weekend? What’s your favorite summer food?